Having managed a package delivery service with 50 vehicles driving a million miles a year, and having trained drivers, investigated accidents, and taught driver-safety programs, I continue to be appalled that cell phones are tolerated in vehicles. A recent news item indicated there were more than 42,000 traffic deaths last year, so this is serious stuff.
Many put cell-phone use in the same category as eating, drinking, smoking, spanking the children, tuning the radio, putting on make-up, and checking themselves in the mirror. But unlike a bite, sip, puff, swat, push of a button, slide of lipstick, or glance, cell-phone conversations are long-term lapses of attention.
We all know this, we've all observed this, yet we play games with a major safety issue. We must ultimately outlaw cell-phone use in moving vehicles. And forget hands-free; the lack of attention causes accidents, not the hand.
And let us not stop with cell phones. A second negative today is the tinted window, with many windows so deeply tinted that it's difficult to see the shape of a head in the vehicle. This happens in a nation where every driver-training course and vehicular-safety program teaches (or should teach) eye contact. Driver-to-driver eye contact resolves many issues. Driver-pedestrian contact is vital.
The Blade is effective in putting its editorial capabilities to work. After the school bus accident in Oregon, you suggested drivers not let students off buses until all traffic has stopped. This idea should be implemented immediately. I strongly recommend The Blade adopt an unflinching vehicular-safety editorial policy, and strongly advocate against cell-phone conversations in moving vehicles as well as against tinted windows.
This does not inhibit personal freedom; it recognizes that others have the right to be safe.
American judiciary deserves our respect
I am writing to support and defend the independence and integrity of the judiciary. I feel compelled to take this public stand on behalf of all members of the Toledo Bar Association in response to the recent gratuitous and vicious verbal attacks on America's judges by some politicians and commentators.
As school children, we learn that the strength of our republic is derived from the Founding Fathers' genius in creating a democracy based upon the unique idea of the separation of power. Three equal, and independent, branches of government have been established, each with a distinct, but different role. Together, each operates as a "check and balance" to the others.
The executive and legislative branches are elected officials and, as such, are directly accountable to the voters: the executive branch to the majority that elected it and the legislators each to their own constituency. Although an over-simplification, the will of the majority of the populace should control the actions of both the executive and legislative branches. The judiciary, however, is answerable to a less visible and more amorphous "public," being charged with upholding the Constitution. Having a 200-year-old document as your primary constituent sometimes leads to lonely times.
The judiciary's role has always been to protect our individual rights and freedoms in the face of a majority bent on pursuing its own ideological agenda. This role may make a judge's decision unpopular, but it is no reason to malign the entire judicial system.
Without the judiciary we might not have a free press, integrated schools, and jury trials. Judges are not meant to be "enforcers of political decisions made by elected representatives of the people," as one recent politician unabashedly suggested.
Judges serve as impartial arbiters, and they deserve our respect.
STEVEN R. SMITH
Toledo Bar Association
A real investigation into state investment
I understand the "good old boys" system and a Republican governor allowing a Republican supporter to be in charge of state money. It's been like that too long to change.
What I really don't understand, and I find very hard to believe, is that anyone would allow a convicted felon - someone convicted of lying to the government and money laundering - to manage anything to do with state funds.
There has to be a real investigation. Not a Republican or Democrat investigation but a criminal or ethics investigation. There better not be anyone looking the other way on this. Too many mistakes were made.
The governor's office, along with the attorney general's office, need to investigate and correct any illegal or unethical or just plain stupid actions.
As a citizen of the great State of Ohio, I demand an honest and open investigation and I want answers. Why didn't anyone look into Mark Chrans' background before handing him a huge pile of money? Can Tom Noe be trusted? Is there anything else he's done with our money that we don't know about?
I know mistakes can be made. A bigger mistake would be to just sweep this under the rug.
Help keep Sylvania Senior Center open
I write on behalf of the men and women who daily use the many services the Sylvania Senior Center offers. It has a variety of educational classes and contact with others with same interests, and it's affordable.
It means a lot in this day and age to be able to have a place to go where the people, and a variety of classes, are tailored to fit seniors' needs and income.
We will vote Tuesday on a levy that replaces the current 0.32 mills operating levy that expires in December, 2005. A straight renewal will result in a ($142,000) deficit by the end of 2006. This cost will be only $13.78 per year on a $100,000 home. A small price to pay. In 2004 more than 2,500 people used these services. It was a separate operating levy voted on last November (the Lucas County Senior Services Levy) which we also benefit from.
Reasons for this levy should be self explanatory. The center is open 60 hours a week, including evenings and weekends. Programs have expanded 64 percent since 2002. Daily use has increased 78 percent and maintenance and operating costs have increased more than 60 percent since it opened.
We all know someone who needs this place. Help keep it open. Vote YES on Issue 3.
Electric rates will rise to cover fine
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is proposing a $5.45 million fine against FirstEnergy Corp. Where is FirstEnergy going to get this money but from its customers? You and I are going to pay higher rates to cover this fine. The employees of FirstEnergy who were at fault should be fined and face disciplinary action, not the customers. Businesses do not pay taxes, the customers do when they purchase the products.
Fred J. Krumm
Don't let oil drilling in lakes go forward
The U.S. House of Representatives voted against a ban to drill for oil in the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes of Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior, the nation's largest supply of fresh water, could now be open to oil drilling thanks to the ill-minded members of Congress: 226 Republicans and 33 Democrats voted to let oil drilling under the Great Lakes go forward.
This ill-fated thinking could destroy the nation's largest supply of fresh water and game fishing in our nation. Our one hope for sanity in this is our neighbor Canada, which shares the common borders with our lakes.
As for these 259 members of Congress, my vote would be to throw them out of their jobs so they would have time to visit the Great Lakes and enjoy the natural beauty they provide.